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Column: Mica mines in Northern New York

Micas are a group of common minerals that cleave into transparent, flexible sheets. In a rock sample, mica is often the shiny, almost metallic-looking stuff. Mica is common in many kinds of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Column: Some advice on how to research colleges

The first step in planning a college campus visit is to research the institution. Once a college has you on campus they will wow you with impressive renovated dorm rooms, state-of-the- art athletic facilities and exotic meal options. While these amenities may be attractive, they are not why you are attending college. Taking a non-emotional look at a college is a smart start.

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Property tax relief will make life more affordable for CNY families

This week marked the end of the state assembly’s legislative session. But before wrapping up, I helped make sure we took action to provide much-needed property tax relief for families throughout Central New York. This tax relief will help keep more of your hard-earned money where it belongs — in your pocket.

Column: A Gift of Swans

The best Fourth of July gift ever -- the Manlius swans have received a reprieve from the likes of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The gift made by the Cheney family about 100 years ago, has been now been re-gifted by the state agency.

Column: Update on Deer Control

As soon as spring weather permitted it, I undertook to build and rebuild my deer fencing with the objective of excluding deer 100 percent this season. Here is what I did.

Guest column: Local urgent care provides insight on the rising concern of tick-borne illnesses 

Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner bringing longer days, warmer weather and, unfortunately, tick bites. With a number of tick bite cases already being seen across all of Five Star Urgent Care’s Upstate New York facilities, transmission of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme and Powassan, are becoming a concern. The best means of handling tick-borne infections is through preventing a tick bite from happening in the first place.

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Plan to fund private schools with tax credits misses the mark

As we enter the last days of this year’s legislative session, there’s one issue that continues to echo loudly in the halls of the Capitol — the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC).

In the Earth Column: Why biofuels?

For decades, the alternatives to fossil fuel have been nuclear energy, hydroelectric dams, geothermal energy, solar panels, wind power and biofuels. All but the last entry in this list do not release carbon dioxide into the air. They are non-polluting sources of energy. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

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Movie review- This ain’t no Mickey Mouse park – ‘Jurassic World’

For a long time there, I thought the “Jurassic Park” franchise was as extinct as its subject matter. Of course Hollywood will never let an idea completely die. Yet rather than reboot this franchise, it is being redirected, picking up a few years after the storyline of the first three movies.

Guest column- That awkward part of seeing your doctor: Testicular cancer screening

The leading cause of cancer among men age 15 to 34 is testicular cancer. Fortunately, this form of cancer is curable. Even when discovered at the advanced stages, it is nearly 100 percent curable.

Column: The somber topic of the living will

Every medical office visit seems to involve asking whether or not you have a "living will." In my case, the answer, until recently, has been "no." It is a somber topic, but it keeps coming up.

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Honoring New York’s women veterans

In June of 1948, President Harry S Truman signed into law the Women’s Armed Services Act and in doing so ensured that women, not just men, would have the opportunity to serve in our nation’s armed services. Sixty-seven years later, female soldiers make up an increasingly large portion of the military — 14 percent of enlisted troops and 16 percent of commissioned officers. While this is a sign of progress, it also means we must take more steps to provide for these servicewomen as they transition back into civilian life.

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Every kid can be a hero during this year’s Summer Reading Challenge

Summer vacation is almost here, and that means it’s the perfect time for our kids to run, jump and play outside. But did you know they can also save the world, defeat the bad guy or make the winning shot — all without leaving home? This season, inspire your child to have fun and become a reading hero by participating in the assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge.

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ASSEMBLY: Education reforms put the focus back on learning

When it comes to education, we must make every effort to provide our children with a solid foundation that will prepare them for future success. This includes providing vital funding for our schools and making certain the education policies we enact will give our students the support and opportunities they deserve.

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FROM THE LEGISLATURE: Legislature accepts funds to improve infrastructure

I believe that one way that we can move our county forward is by improving our infrastructure. At our May legislative session we authorized funding to improve our highways and bridges, we accepted grant funding to continue the development of the Skä·noñh – Great Law of Peace Center, and we refinanced some outstanding bonds at a lower interest rate.

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